The high-profile Kansas Relays downtown shot put won’t be taking place downtown this year, meet director Milan Donley said. Instead, it will be moved indoors to the Douglas County Fairgrounds livestock arena, 2110 Harper Street. Wednesday’s weather forecast that calls for severe thunderstorms resulted in the decision to move the event.
“If people enjoyed watching those guys throw, it will be just as exciting,” Donley said. “It actually could be louder in there if people show up and support them.”
The event, for which there is no admission charge, is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. Competitors will begin warming up at 5:15.
Donley said Thursday’s women’s long jump, which also had been scheduled to take place on the streets of downtown, will take place at the livestock arena because of concerns that the wind-chill could be below freezing.
Reese Hoffa, the winner of last year’s downtown shot put, is in the field and has agreed to compete against Kansas University senior basketball player Kevin Young in a Rubik’s Cube contest.
Donley indicated he did not think extra security forces would be hired to work at the Kansas Relays — which take place Wednesday through Saturday with most of the events in Memorial Stadium — in light of Monday’s bombings that resulted in three confirmed deaths at the Boston Marathon.
“Obviously it just makes you more aware that anything can happen at any time,” Donley said. “Nothing is sacred anymore. The Boston Marathon is most open event you can find.”
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, spectators entering Memorial Stadium for the event have had their backpacks, etc. searched.
“We’ve been doing that for quite a while and maybe even more so now,” Donley said. “I feel safe in Lawrence. I think Lawrence is a safe city.”